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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Discovers Old Beau Is Her New Friend's Husband

DEAR ABBY: I recently met a woman at a "Mommy and Me" class. We hit it off immediately and started making plans for play dates, etc. During one class we started talking about our husbands, and I realized that her husband is someone I had a casual relationship with 10 years ago.

I have avoided getting together with her ever since because I don't know if it is appropriate to tell her how well I know her husband. I have not had any contact with him, and I don't know how he would feel about my friendship with his wife. If we are to be friends, I feel I must be honest with her. I'd appreciate your advice. -- FEELING AWKWARD IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR FEELING AWKWARD: If the situation were reversed, how would you feel about it? Would you feel OK with it if she had rejected your husband? If he rejected her, would you care to reintroduce someone who might be considered a "woman scorned"? Or are you all sophisticated enough to laugh it off and let bygones be bygones? If the answer to that last question is yes, then level with her. If not, then don't go there.

DEAR ABBY: "Mary" and I worked in the same department for 20 years. We would occasionally socialize outside of work along with our husbands. They eventually divorced, but I stayed friends with Mary. She remarried, transferred out of my department a few years ago, and we now see each other only at work-related functions.

I recently heard that her ex had passed away suddenly. I don't know whether I should send her a condolence card, call her or not mention anything until we bump into each other again. What is the proper procedure for acknowledging -- or not -- the death of an ex-spouse? -- ROCHELLE IN HAMILTON, N.Y.

DEAR ROCHELLE: If Mary's first marriage ended in a bitter divorce, drop her a line and let her know what you heard. She may not have heard the news. If the divorce was a friendly one, then give her a call and offer condolences. Not only would it be a gesture of support, but also an opportunity for the two of you to catch up.

DEAR ABBY: My friend, "Jane," who lives in California, is going through a painful divorce. She has recently become obsessed with a celebrity and, through fan chat rooms, found out where he hangs out, goes shopping, etc.

She is now attending his church. She has spoken to him casually twice and says she "knows" they are meant to be together.

I know Jane isn't violent, and I'm sure she would do him no harm, but when I mentioned counseling she accused me of being "jealous."

Abby, we're not teenagers. Jane is a 43-year-old woman. Mutual friends tell me I should let her have her fun. Am I right to be concerned? -- FRIEND OF A STALKER

DEAR FRIEND: Yes, to a degree, because your friend may be setting herself up for another disappointment. Sought-after celebrities develop an instinct for detecting obsessed fans who try to worm their way into their lives.

Right now, Jane's behavior is on the outer perimeters of normal. But if it escalates, contact the clergyperson of the church and let him or her know what's going on so he or she can take action or the celebrity can be notified.

TO MY JEWISH READERS: Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, so I'd like to wish everyone a happy, healthy new year!

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)